So you think Holliday’s slide was dirty? The cleat was on the other foot 24 years ago
If you’re a Giants fan who is still griping this morning about Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday’s “dirty” slide into Marco Scutaro in last night’s NLCS game, you really need to take a chill pill…or maybe some gingko biloba to help with your memory.
It wasn’t that long ago that these same two teams were involved in an eerily-similar play. But the cleat was on the other foot.
In July of 1988, a year after the Cards and Giants battled it out in the NLCS (and St. Louis advanced to the World Series only to lose to the Minnesota Twins), San Francisco’s Will Clark (who’s now a special assistant to the Giants) slid hard into Cardinals second baseman Jose Oquendo (who is now a coach for the Redbirds) to try to break up a double play. It’s obvious from the video below that Clark, like Holliday last night, had one thought in his mind during this play: take the second baseman out.
Unlike Scutaro, who rolled around in pain after Holliday’s slide and took some time to get up and regain his faculties, Oquendo wasted no time in letting Will The Thrill know how he felt about the play.
Oquendo got up and slapped Clark upside the head, which ignited a bench-clearing brawl. Later in the game, Giants catcher Bob Brenly and Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith would also get into it. To say there is no love lost in the storied history between these two teams would be an understatement.
I can say that I appreciate that Scutaro went about his business last night and used his bat to exact revenge.
However, had the injury been severe enough to cause Scutaro to leave the game (and therefore not be available to contribute the way he did last night), I’m not so sure how appreciative I might be feeling this morning. After all, Scott Cousins’ 2011 season-ending blast into Buster Posey is still very fresh in the minds of us Giants fans.
What’s done is done and Giants fans should be happy that the game turned out the way it did last night, with the home team winning 7-1 to tie the series at a game apiece.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see more tangling between these two teams over the course of the remaining NLCS games.
Certainly this play is going to spark a lot of debate over the next few days about the rule (or “unwritten rule”) of when or how a runner should slide into second. In fact, the rule was changed years ago to mandate that runners “make a bona fide effort to reach and stay on the base” (versus the old tackle method, as used by Cincinnati’s Joe Morgan against Oakland second baseman Dick Green in the 1972 World Series).
What do you think about the play last night? Clean or dirty?